Music to Your Ears
By Michael Henningsen
In response to my statement of two weeks ago in which I wrote that Unit 7 Drain were among two bands that "whined like babies" about their time slot and/or venue placement, several members of the band cited conflicts with their employment schedules as the reason for requiring a time slot later than 9 p.m. Sounds reasonable enough. Apologies therefore to Unit 7 Drain, their fans and anyone who thought I was too big an asshole to acknowledge my own mistakes and apologize for them. Rage Against the Machine, however, offered no such explanation, threatening instead to write a letter to the editor (a.k.a. Yours Truly) challenging me to a public brawl. The arrival of said letter—and brawl—is still anxiously awaited. ... This past Saturday night I managed to drag my crusty ol' ass out to the Launchpad for the Icky and the Yuks tour kick-off. I felt young again ... until about 12:30 a.m., but I did manage to make it all the way through part of Icky's set. Other highlights of the evening were masterful, thunderous sets by Fivehundred and Black Maria, not to mention the always slightly disturbing Beefcake in Chains. Head 'Cake Steve Eiland won the award for best Icky-themed T-shirt, which I can't comfortably describe even in this rag. Anyway, Icky are on the road for the next 12 days or so, returning just in time for Jay Collins and Richard Trott to catch the plane that will deliver them to a fishing boat off the coast of Alaska for about six weeks. No, really.
By Michael Henningsen
White Men Can Jump
Charlie Musselwhite's Chicago Blues
Along with Paul Butterfiled, Mississipi-born, Memphis-rasied harpist Charlie Musselwhite can be credited for giving the so-called white blues movement of the '60s a leg to stand on. Already a master of the blues harp by his late teens, the then twentysomething Musselwhite had moved to Chicago and begun to absorb the intricacies of its urban blues sound. It's a style that Musselwhite has remained faithful to for the better part of 40 years. Still, the 60-year-old musician is regarded as one of the most adventurous bluesmen around, within his chosen idiom. And he's got 14 W.C. Handy awards and half a dozen Grammy nominations to prove it.
By Michael Henningsen
Thursday, May 13; Puccini's Golden West Saloon (21 and over, 9 p.m.): Guess what! It hasn't all been done before. It's safe to say that Australian-born, Los Angeles-based trio, Brother, are the first to eschew guitars in favor of dueling bagpipes in a rock format that draws on everything from Beach Boys-esque harmonies and sunny, SoCal pop to Latin rhythms and ancient, Aboriginal drones. And that's not to mention the Celtic undertones that drive most of the songs on their new album, Urban Cave.
with Sekiden, Leiahdorus and Brixton Ex
By Rachel Heisler
Thursday, May 13; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): An undeclared, unspoken '80s-style electropop revival is taking place thanks to the Lovemakers—yet another fashionable band born and bred in the Big Apple. The band, which in the past was much more polished, has taken an evolutionary step backwards in its songwriting.
By Michael Henningsen
Various Artists Spin the Bottle: An All-star Tribute to KISS (Koch)
Frankly, this is one of the worst albums I've ever heard—a sonic travesty even by my forgiving '80s metal standards. Every washed-up member of every washed-up band you can think of appear in various configurations, churning out pedestrian versions of the same old KISS songs that have been remade dozens of times. So why bother? Because for KISS fans, the accompanying DVD is almost worth the price. Think of it as an if episode of "Behind the Music" without the script or narration—just a bunch of aging rockers further contextualizing KISS with sincere commentary. CD = drink coaster.
Dada Life Press Photo
Dada Life • electronic, house
By Joshua Lee
This is not a DJ duo from Sweden. Wait. No. Actually, it is. Sorry, I got carried away. Dada Life is one of the biggest DJ acts in the world. I don't really know what that entails, though, to be honest. It involves dancing, I think. And auto-tune. But I don't really care, because these guys are hilarious. Their logo is a champagne bottle flanked by two peeled bananas. They have press photos involving pastel suits and Sears family photo-style ambiguous cloudy backgrounds, and one showing member Stefan Engblom shoving an oversized piece of meat into member Olle Cornéer's straining face while giving words of encouragement. That's funny. And anyone that funny deserves a show of your support, which you will have a chance to display when they come to The Stage this Friday, Sept. 2, at 9pm. If you're over 21, purchase a $25-$35 ticket, get your ass down there and let these boys know how appreciative you are of their comic genius. Oh. And let them know you like their music (even if you're old and don't get it, like me).
Kid Dinosaur • indie rock • St. Petersburg • Cry Steve Cry • psychedelic, surf Americana • Sweet Nothin' • punk rock
By Desiree Garcia
Is a Burqueño actually a Burqueño if they don't support their local artists? If you're unsure, the band Kid Dinosaur will be headlining a show at the Launchpad this Friday, Sept. 2. Doors open at 8pm. It's a 21+ show, because what's a show without a little liquid courage (just for dancing, though)? It's only $5 to support these local indie rockers. Performances will also include St. Petersburg, Cry Steve Cry and Sweet Nothin'.
Courtesy of Watsky Instagram
Watsky • Witt Lowry • hip-hop • Daye Jack • rap • Chukwudi Hodge
By Renée Chavez
In search of rap that's about more than hoes and getting turnt at the club? Cruise over to Sunshine Theater on Saturday, Sept. 3, to experience WATSKY, Witt Lowry, Daye Jack and Chuckwudi Hodge. George Watsky is a spoken word artist, rapper, poet and author who has just released his newest studio album, x Infinity, and let me tell ya, he's rad. Don't believe me? Check out his performance as Shakespeare in “Epic Rap Battles of History,” the flaming-hot “Whoa Whoa Whoa” from All You Can Do, or the fact that he won the Brave New Voices National Poetry Slam in 2006. He tackles complex issues like school shootings, politics, immigration, social media and the bizarreness of the modern human experience with wit and a badass beat. Tickets are $20 for general admission to this all-ages show and doors open at 7pm.
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